Anas Albraehe: The Dreamer at Anita Rogers Gallery, 494 Greenwich Street
Anita Rogers Gallery just moved (in February) from Soho to a new space at 494 Greenwich, just north of Canal, so adding them in here as a new kid so we can track the expanding Tribeca Gallery District.
The gallery opened in 2016 on Mercer Street in a second floor space, then to a ground floor location on Greene Street. And while they loved that location, there was permanent scaffolding on the storefront and it became too much. “We are thrilled with our new space and location,” said gallery director Elizabeth Thompson. (She thought the space must have been a fitness studio before they moved in; years ago it was the Boris Bidjan Saberi boutique.)
Rogers is the daughter of British artist Jack Martin Rogers and is a classically trained opera singer, harpist and guitar player; as a result the gallery does a lot of music events and an annual Greek celebration, with live Greek music, food and dancing. (Rogers was raised in Greece.)
The current show — up till August 27 — is work by a young Syrian painter, Anas Albraehe, titled The Dreamer.
Installation photo of Anas Albraehe: The Dreamer (2022) at 494 Greenwich Street, New York. Photo: Jon-Paul Rodriguez
The contemporary Syrian artist Anas Al Braehe is famous for his series of paintings depicting sleeping refugees. In his paintings, the refugees appear safe, warm, and protected, if only momentarily, from the worries and problems of everyday life. If you are in NYC, you can visit his solo exhibition at the Anita Rogers Gallery.
Work by Syrian Painter Anas Albraehe’s portraits of sleeping laborers and refugees sets his dreamers amid vivid and bold colors, a sharp contrast with their temporary state of escape from the sufferings of everyday life. At Anita Rogers Gallery, 494 Greenwich St., June 29–August 27. Reception: Wed., June 29, 6-8pm.
Anita Rogers Gallery is thrilled to present The Dreamer, a solo exhibition of work by Syrian painter Anas Albraehe.
The exhibition will be on view June 29 through August 27 at 494 Greenwich Street, Ground Floor in New York City.
The gallery will welcome visitors on the evening of Wednesday, June 29, 6-8pm for a reception.
You can read the poem that accompanies the exhibition here.
Albraehe paints expressive portraits of men asleep – these are laborers and refugees enjoying a brief respite from the day to day. There is a historical precedent for painting sleeping figures – and men in particular (vs the ubiquitous reclining female nude) – artists from Goya to Bacon to Van Gogh have broached the topic. Born in Syria in 1991, Albraehe is a multidisciplinary artist focused on painting and theatre. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Painting and Drawing from Damascus University of Fine Arts in Syria in 2014. After the beginning of the war in Syria, he moved to Lebanon where he obtained a Master’s degree in Psychology and Art Therapy from the Lebanese University in 2015. His recent work combines his interests in the fields of art and psychology to produce a portrait that explores the psychology of color and the gaze of the Other. Albraehe has had solo exhibitions in Paris, Jordan, Beirut, and participated in group exhibitions worldwide. The artist’s work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of the Arab World in Paris (IMA) and he is a member of the French Artists Syndicate. He now lives and works in Beirut.
Al Suwayda, Syria, is where the artist was born in 1991… By the time Al Braehe was old enough to be accepted into his undergraduate program at the University of Fine Arts of Damascus, the university had expanded its campus and built a branch in Al Suwayda… it was in the contained environment of his village in Al Suwayda that he proceeded to practice his painting. It was by virtue of the artist’s development in that precise habitat, that the work was able to translate the talent in its authenticity and in accompaniment of cultural values inherited by the artist from his indigenous Druze surrounding. In an article published by the Atassi Arts and Culture Foundation, which focuses on Syrian artists, the artist is asked about his thoughts on critics comparing his work to the French impressionists, most notably Henri Matisse and Paul Gauguin. Al Braehe shares that he is flattered by these comments and that perhaps it is the common affinity towards nature in both his and the impressionists’ works, that ushers the critics to say so. He adds that he had been painting, long before he had access to the Internet and discovered who these maestros are.
Al Braehe unconsciously gives elements of nature their own character in his paintings….he saw in nature something that he wanted to share. But that desire, he says, started indoors and not outdoors. Al Braehe’s mother was a seamstress for the village. While he was not allowed into the fitting rooms where his mother would dress the women, a young Al Braehe hid under the table and watched as colorful fabric unfolded. He gathered colorful woolen threads from his mother’s studio and placed them side by side in the quest to find the most sight-provoking color combinations. This was at the root of his studies in coloring and soon enough, as he describes, everyone saw trees to be green and he knew that they were much more than one color. The artist explains that there is a reason why his coloring looks patchy, almost like a pattern sown on fabric.
When: through August 27
Where: Anita Rogers Gallery (494 Greenwich Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)
Syrian painter Anas Albraehe places marginalized men in compromising positions. The laborers and refugees in his expressionist paintings appear asleep in random public spaces, speaking to the layers of fatigue and exposure that stem from immigration. Bringing the styles of Matisse and Gauguin into landscapes from the artist’s current hometown of Beirut, The Dreamer visualizes the migrant experience of lying in wait for something unknown and unguaranteed.